Found December 31, 2013 on Blue Seat Blogs:
Can Staal get back to his dominant old self? With Marc Staal returning to the line-up tonight, speculation will (re) begin as to whether the timing of his return is right or whether Staal will ever be able to return to his previous best. In addition to the obvious chase for a playoff spot and the continued (prolonged) acclimatisation to the new coaching staff, the Rangers will need to treat the second half of the season as an audition of sorts for Marc Staal. There’s no question that Staal – at his best – is an elite, All Star calibre defenseman capable of shutting down the league’s best scorers while also contributing offensively. However, there are a boat load of questions regarding his durability, the task of re-projecting his long term potential and subsequently measuring his relative importance to the Rangers when considering the financial risks that come with committing to such an injury hit, concussion-vulnerable player. The Rangers defense is potentially facing a summer of drastic change with the increasingly likely departure of Michel Del Zotto, the inconsistent form of Anton Stralman and John Moore and the regression of Dan Girardi. In terms of worst case scenarios, Ryan McDonagh may be the only long term fixture on the Rangers blueline. The Rangers know what kind of player they have in Dylan McIlrath – assuming he develops appropriately – and he may get a longer look this year or next, but the Rangers need to make significant decisions on the current roster. Connor Allen has impressed pre-season, in the AHL and in his NHL debut and could very well be a permanent Ranger but so much of the eventual composition of the unit relies on Staal’s ability to return effectively. The Rangers are financially committed to Staal and while he’s good value at his current salary of $3.875 million when he’s on form, the uncertainty around his future does raise questions as to whether the Rangers should look to commit to the Rangers’ Staal family representative beyond ‘14-‘15. After strong defensive play and seasons of 27 and 29 points between 2009-2011, Staal has played just 97 games since and scored just 19 points. Staal’s defense has also been less than what fans had come to expect but of course, all of this sub-par production is undeniably tied to his health. The remaining 41 games of the season (after the Florida game) are a crucial juncture for both Staal and the Rangers. If Staal is ever to get back to his All Star form he’ll need to stay healthy and help the Rangers find some consistency both on their blueline and in their march up the standings. The Rangers will hope Staal can prove he can come back and stay back. If he can’t, then Staal may not be a Ranger for much longer. The half season audition begins tonight. Tweet

Rangers place Taylor Pyatt on waivers

Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers have placed forward Taylor Pyatt on waivers. Pyatt has been a big disappointment this season and hasn’t played a game since the December 12 loss to Columbus. Pyatt has just one assist in his 22 games this season, while being a negative Corsi player (42.7% Corsi) with 34.5% offensive zone starts. As Kevin said this morning, it appears that Pyatt’s...

Rangers midseason grades: bottom-six forwards

When healthy, Derek Dorsett has been everything the Rangers hoped for Like many parts of the 2013-2014 roster, the bottom-six forwards have struggled through long stretches of the season thus far.  Part of that can be attributed to players being used out of place and in unusual situations, but the team hasn’t gotten consistent play out of many of its depth forwards for most of...

2014 WJC: Skjei, Buchnevich continue strong play

Aside from three straight USA wins, one thing that has been very nice to watch over the past few days is the impressive play of the Rangers prospects in action in the 2014 World Junior Championship. Both Brady Skjei (USA, 2012 1st) and Pavel Buchnevich (Russia, 2013 3rd) have had strong tournaments thus far, and have been key cogs as both teams look towards the elimination round...

Defenseman Marc Staal nears return

Defenseman Marc Staal, who missed his 10th game Sunday night since suffering a concussion Dec. 7, did not rule out returning to the lineup Tuesday at Florida — though Friday at Pittsburgh may be more likely. Staal participated in the morning skate to mark the second straight day he has practiced with the Rangers. "I’ll practice again [today] and see how I feel," Staal...

McDonagh, Callahan, Stepan make Team USA

Team USA has released the roster for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics, and the Rangers will have three representatives playing for the red, white, and blue. Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, and Ryan McDonagh will all be heading to Sochi in February. Tweet

Rangers Mid-Terms: Defense and Goaltending

With the Rangers approaching the midway point in their season it’s time for Ranger Nation to assign the team their Mid-Term grades. Joining me in this venture is Jan Levine, the New York Rangers blogger on Hockey Buzz and also Roto Wire’s NHL fantasy columnist. Jan is a good friend of mine and will contribute […]

Alain Vigneault’s Tough Love Has Paid Dividends For New York Rangers

Getty Images By Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) NHL players always want to be in the good graces of their bench boss, but ultimately there are moments when a player will land in the head coach’s doghouse. This year Alain Vigneault has shown tough love to three players in particular, and two of the three have responded in spades. The players in question include Michael Del Zotto, Benoit...

Happy Drew Miller Gustav Nyquist!

Or Chris Kreider Taylor Pyatt! Hope you have broken the code by now. Let's star the New Year right by wishing all of you a prosperous and successful 2014. Right now it is 15 degrees in the metro Detroit/Ann Arbor area with the high reaching somewhere around 20.  Snowfall predicted for today is between 2-5 inches. With that, we have an outdoor game to play today and it...

Richards lifts Rangers to shootout win over Panthers

It’s only natural that this becomes a moment of reflection, one in which the noise surrounding the Rangers can dim and there at least can be a partial understanding of what has transpired, and what might in the future. Tuesday night was New Year’s Eve at the BB&T Center, and the Blueshirts were playing game No. 41 of this confounding season, the halfway mark memorialized...

Richards' shootout goal lifts Rangers over Panthers

Brad Richards scored the lone goal in the shootout, and the New York Rangers rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Tuesday night. Richards beat Tim Thomas with a wrist shot to the top left corner after Thomas stopped the first two New York attempts in the tiebreaker. Henrik Lundqvist made a save against Brad Boyes to seal the Rangers' victory. New York defenseman Dan...

Richards' SO goal lifts Rangers over Panthers 2-1

Brad Richards scored the lone goal in the shootout, and the New York Rangers rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Tuesday night. Richards beat Tim Thomas with a wrist shot to the top left corner after Thomas stopped the first two New York attempts in the tiebreaker. Henrik Lundqvist made a save against Brad Boyes to seal the Rangers' victory. New York defenseman Dan...

Rangers waive Taylor Pyatt

According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, the New York Rangers have put 32-year-old forward Taylor Pyatt on waivers. Pyatt, who is in the final year of a two-year, $3.1 million contract with the Rangers, has no goals and one assist in 22 games. He hasn’t played since December 12 against Columbus.

Is Trading for Nazem Kadri Anything More Than a Pipe Dream for New York Rangers?

Nazem Kadri is a talented forward with tremendous upside, and it is rather interesting that the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to deal a potential No. 1 center. Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet broke the news on Monday that two NHL teams confirmed that Kadri is available for trade. There have been trade rumors circulating that have linked the Maple Leafs to the New York Rangers' Michael...

Powerplay perfection propels Rangers to victory

Finally. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images) The Rangers went 3-for-3 with the man advantage last night to bury the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 4-3. The Rangers –without two of their top four defensemen, dressing a rookie in his first game, and three very inconsistent bottom-pairing players– managed to erase an early 2-1 deficit with three straight goals against...

Lundqvist, back in for Talbot, leads Rangers past Lightning

It was far from perfect, or inspiring or anything more than just what it was — a win. Yet in the visitors’ dressing room at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Sunday night, there was Henrik Lundqvist underneath the Broadway hat, an unfamiliar sight in this ugly season of mediocrity, and even if the Rangers franchise goaltender was subdued in his joy, finally he was no longer joyless...
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